Valerie Rao

Medical Examiner Valerie Rao Announces Retirement After Difficult Tenure

May 7, 2018
Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT News

Valerie Rao, the embattled medical examiner who has held onto her job in the face of criticism for the last five years, announced she would retire in the summer.

autopsy table
Finalwitness via Flickr

For the third year in a row, the proposed Jacksonville city budget contains no money for updating or expanding the medical examiner’s office —that’s despite an increased workload and overcrowding from drug-overdose deaths.

Thursday on First Coast Connect, 4th District medical examiner Dr. Valerie Rao and Lt. Mark Rowley, quality improvement officer with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, talked about how the opioid epidemic is straining their offices. We also spoke by phone with Abe Gol about an upcoming NOVA episode dealing with the discovery of tunnels in Lithuania used by Jews to escape the Nazi’s during the Holocaust, and Niki Brunson and Dana Miller, organizers of Saturday’s Melanin Market and Parade in Jacksonville.